Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents
LA LUZ DE LIDERAZO - A MEMBERSHIP SPOTLIGHT April 2022
Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight. Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind! This month we are featuring Verónica “BJ” Jeffers, Principal, Fort Logan Northgate, Sheridan School District 2 BJ shares her professional career and current bio below. You can read the diverse experiences that have led to her various leadership roles. One of our shining stars! Career Highlights & EducationMy name is Verónica Adela Licona-Jeffers, but my friends call me BJ. I was blessed and privileged to grow up speaking both languages simultaneously. However, my grandmother and her 2 sisters only spoke Spanish. They forbade us to speak using both languages within the same sentence. If they could hear us now?! I am proud of my heritage and culture. My family is from Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua but I grew up in El Paso, TX. I can still hear my grandmother and mother telling me, “Que nunca se te olvida de donde vienes!” (Don’t ever forget where you come from). I try to be an example to other Latina women, whether students or adults. I use my mantra, “si se puede” (just do it!) quite often. I attended catholic schools growing up and worked as a sweeper and cleaning blackboards to compensate my tuition. I then was awarded a McFadden scholarship from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. Being the first in my family to go to college, I graduated with honors in 1980 with a B.S. degree in education with a minor in Law Enforcement. I also have a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction w/ emphasis in Bilingual education and a Master’s in Administration. I started my career in Law Enforcement and transitioned to education eleven years later. I spent my first 22 years serving in Denver Public Schools. The next 5 years were with Adams14 school district, where I served as a principal at Kearney Middle School. We went green (the first school in the district to meet state standards) within the first two years. I then became a principal coach followed by co-principalship at Adam City High School. I will finish my career in my current role as principal at Fort Logan Northgate, in the Sheridan School District 2. Through my 29 years experiences, I have always considered myself to be a servant for children. There is good in all our kids and as adults who circumference their lives daily, it is our duty to set high expectations and guide them to making better decisions and empowering them to self-advocate and take ownership of their learning. Great recipe for success!
What is exciting about my job? The better question is, “what’s not exciting about my job.” I get to interact with students daily. I want students to know they’re in control of their own destiny. Watching the transformation of students’ growth through a Restorative Justice process gives hope that students will learn the impact of their words and give them voice to handle conflict in a healthy way. In addition, I encourage students to get involved in school activities, sports, clubs, etc., knowing that participation in school events increases higher academic achievement. As a servant to kids, holding teachers accountable to high standards is an important part of my role as a principal. It is critical for our students to step into a warm and welcoming environment and receive the quality education they all deserve and. This provides me the opportunity to support quality teacher leaders in becoming future coaches, deans, and administrators. Finally, I love bringing the community into our schools. We have a high parental involvement at FLN and have challenged myself to continue building community partnerships in hopes that our students feel the guidance and support from everyone around them. Hillary Clinton said it best, “it takes a village!” Words from a consejero/a: “Que nunca se te olvida de donde vienes,” (your roots) resonates in everything I do. Never forget where you come from, meaning, be proud of being Mexicana! I let the kids know if I can do it, so can you!
Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader: I would use Michelle Obama’s quote, “real change comes from having enough comfort to be really honest and say something very uncomfortable.” Our kids deserve to have the best teachers in front of them. We have got to continuously be seeking out effective teachers to best meet the needs of our students.
If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . . me out walking my dogs or working in the yard. In the summertime you will find me back at the ranch with my family and relatives. How does CO-ALAS add value? I enjoy meeting up with CO-Alas to be inspired by other Latina leaders. It’s nice to share strategies and stories that effect our schools in a positive light.